Last Test of the year ‘not the end but beginning of rest of journey’

2013-11-23 00:00

JEAN de Villiers was in Churchillian mood as he spoke at the captain’s press conference yesterday on the eve of the Test against France in Paris.

De Villiers said the last Test of the year was simply the next step in the progression of the team. “We don’t see it as the final game. In that sense, it is not the end but rather the beginning of the rest of our journey,” he said in an audio link from Paris.

“It is an opportunity to improve and we are looking to go on our holidays with a performance which will leave us proud. We don’t want to have a bad game which we will have to dwell on until we play again in six months.”

He said that the French would provide fresh challenges for the Springboks.

“We don’t play the French often and now get the chance to test ourselves against a new team in different conditions at a different time.”

The Test will be played at 9 pm local time in freezing temperatures.

“We are looking to put up a good performance by beating the French for the first time in 16 years at home.”

De Villiers said the French would challenge the Springboks in different ways.

“It will be physical and the set phases will be important for us if we are to gain dominance.

“We have to start well. We don’t want them to get away because then their confidence goes up and the crowd gets behind them and it will be a tough day at the office.”

He said the French appeared to have a more settled squad than in the past.

“They have quality players and two weeks ago they were unlucky not to at least draw with the All Blacks. So we know what we’re up against.”

He said that a Springbok win would leave them with an 80% win record for the year with just the two losses to the superb All Black squad.

“I think it has already been a successful year, but a win at Stade de France would make it an extra-special one,” De Villiers said.

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